Martinsburg man sentenced to 15 years for drug distribution

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Michael Shavar Payton of Martinsburg was sentenced today to 188 months in prison for cocaine trafficking, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.

Payton was the subject of an investigation by the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force that led to his Martinsburg home being searched by the West Virginia State Police Special Response Team. Officers discovered powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and other drug paraphernalia in his residence, along with 9mm ammunition.

Payton, age 37, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base” because of the contraband found in his home.

“I applaud the collaboration of our law enforcement partners and their commitment to keeping our region safe,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “Their efforts to disrupt drug trafficking operations like the one Mr. Payton was involved with are to be commended.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara K. Omps-Botteicher, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also of the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Assistant U.S Attorney Timothy D. Helman, prosecuted the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Martinsburg Police Department, the Charles Town Police Department, and the Ranson Police Department aided the inquiry.

The case was funded in part by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF), which provides federal funding and coordination for the investigation of interstate and international drug trafficking organizations.

U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.